With the change in seasons, fall is here, and football is not the only thing in the air.
Each autumn, ragweed blooms to fill the air with pollen that wrecks havoc on allergy sufferers. In addition to weed pollen, the recent wet weather has caused increasing mold counts.
The pollen and mold will prime the immune system, creating the misery known as "hay fever" that increases in intensity as the season drags on. If nothing is done, the runny, drippy nose and the itchy watery eyes can drag you down. Mold and pollen also trigger asthma attacks that peak in the fall.
A visit to a board-certified allergist can tell you exactly what is triggering your symptoms. And fortunately, there are many ways to relieve the suffering once you know what is causing it.
AVOIDANCE: No one wants to live life in a bubble, but there are a few simple steps to limit your exposure. Keeping the windows closed in your house and car and washing hair (and pets) after spending time outside will help keep the pollen out of your house. Since pollen is released in the morning, exercising later at night will trigger fewer problems.
OVER THE COUNTER MEDICINES: Non-sedating antihistamines are probably the best options here. Benadryl is too sedating for regular use, and can make it difficult to concentrate at work and school. Salt-water irrigation using a Neti-Pot or similar device is also helpful in rinsing pollen out. Unfortunately, over the counter medications won't be sufficient for many sufferers.
PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES: The safest, most potent medicines will require a trip to your doctor. Nasal steroids and nasal antihistamines are very effective against congestion, drainage and itching. They are not habit-forming like some over the counter nose sprays, and can work just as fast.
ALLERGY IMMUNOTHERAPY: Allergy shots have been shown to be the most effective longterm treatment of allergies, with up to 85 percent of patients responding. This treatment involves injecting small amounts of allergen (like pollen) in gradually increasing doses to retrain your immune system. Allergy shots can potentially cure allergies and can even prevent asthma from developing. Even more importantly, allergy shots can save you money.
According to a recent study, patients receiving allergy shots spent about 30 percent less on care in the first 18 months than similar patients who did not receive shots.
The board-certified physicians and staff at Chattanooga Allergy Clinic are especially equipped to determine what your allergic triggers are and to design a personalized treatment plan that best fi ts your busy schedule. The practice offers a variety of "rush" protocols designed to quickly achieve results with allergy shots.
Chattanooga Allergy Clinic also offers extended office hours at five convenient locations and is now accepting new patients.
For appointment inquiries at any of the locations, callthe main line at 423-899-0431 or visit chattanoogaallergyclinic.com.